Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Postdoctoral Fellow, Genentech, Inc.
Plasma galectin-3 (Gal-3) is associated with organ fibrosis, but whether urinary Gal-3 is a potential biomarker of kidney disease progression has never been explored. Between 2018 and 2021, we prospectively enrolled 280 patients who underwent renal biopsy and were divided into three groups based on their urinary Gal-3 levels (<354.6, 354.6-510.7, and ≥510.8 pg/mL) to assess kidney disease progression (defined as ≥40% decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate or end-stage renal disease) and renal histology findings. Patients in the highest urinary Gal-3 tertile had the lowest eGFRs and highest proteinuria levels. In multivariate Cox regression models, patients in the highest tertile had the highest risk of kidney disease progression (adjusted hazard ratio, 4.60; 95% confidence interval, 2.85-7.71) compared to those in the lowest tertile. Higher urinary Gal-3 levels were associated with more severe renal fibrosis. Intrarenal mRNA expression of LGALS3 (Gal-3-encoded gene) was most correlated with the renal stress biomarkers (IGFBP7 and TIMB2), renal function biomarkers (PTGDS) and fibrosis-associated genes (TGFB1). The urinary Gal-3 level may be useful for the identification of patients at high risk of kidney disease progression and renal fibrosis, and for the early initiation of treatments for these patients.